Saturday, July 30, 2011


Like many of you, I was shocked to hear of the vicious attacks in Norway that left seventy-six people dead. I was even more disturbed that the suspected terrorist, thirty-two year old Anders Behring Breivik considered himself a conservative Christian called to fight the Muslim takeover and rampant multiculturalism that was ruining his beloved country.

According to his purported manifesto, Internet ravings, and court appearances, Breivik felt that Norway was being taken over by Muslims, a group that comprises about 3% of the country’s entire population. To place that statistic in perspective, that is the equivalence of someone committing mass murder in the Unites States to prevent Methodists (2.5% of our population) and Norwegian-Americans (.5%) from forming an alliance and overthrowing our government.

Oddly enough, none of his violence targeting Muslims, instead he exacted his vengeance on members of the country’s Labour Party who he held responsible for allowing the Muslim assimilation. After detonating his bomb in Oslo, he took ninety minutes to change into a police officer’s uniform and arrive at a political youth camp located on Utoya Island. Believing he was sent there to update them on the attack in the capital, the teenagers were gathered together in a meeting room where Breivik opened fire. He was later taken into custody and expressed surprise that he was able to kill so many people in one day and that his plan had “succeeded.” 

One of Breivik's self-portraits.
The writings indicate that although Breivik admits he had a “privileged” childhood and claimed several Muslim friends, he was later victimized by violent “Muslim gangs” and assaulted several times by an “older Pakistani” man. This apparently led to a falling-out with his Islamic friends and a loss of protection from violent Muslim gangs. This protection was so important that Breivik and his friends felt it necessary to arm themselves when they emerged in public. (Norway allows licensed civilians to own guns as long as they are not fully automatic.) 

I have a hard time believing that a wealthy young Norwegian was terrorized by violent Muslim street gangs so much that he felt it necessary to carry a firearm.  In fact, before this incident I had never heard the words “Muslim street gang” placed adjacent to one another in the same sentence. It also seems unlikely that the Norwegian Jihad Crips wielded that much power in a country that is 80% Lutheran and has a higher GDP per-capita than the United States.

One characteristic of the attack that is sadly familiar is the manifesto. When I was young, I remember being told that the best way to deal with powerful emotions was to write them down so that you can safely unburden yourself. It would appear that is no longer an effective course of action since everyone from the Unabomber to Breivik created a manifesto as a precursor to senseless violence. A good rule of thumb: If it takes 2,000 typed pages to explain your forthcoming actions to the rest of humanity, perhaps it is because you should not subject the rest of humanity to your forthcoming actions. People who save puppies or feed orphans don’t need lengthy essays because those actions require much less explanation than say, firebombing a Kindergarten dance-recital.

I would also like to know why no one in Breivik’s life saw this coming. If an acquaintance of mine began penning encyclopedic manifestos and taking self-portraits while brandishing automatic weapons, “mentally- stable” would not be the first description that would come to my mind. This man went out and purchased tracts of farmland just to acquire fertilizer without coming under suspicion. Didn’t someone wonder why a thirty-two year-old man suddenly decided it was time to give agriculture a shot? Weren’t there a few raised eyebrows when a guy who purchased a metric ton of fertilizer each year never had any produce to display at the Olso Farmer’s Market?

In all seriousness, it saddens me to see such horrendous and inexcusable violence attributed to a man who claims adherence to the same religion as me. Here is a guy who read the same Bible, prayed to the same God, and publicly claimed the same Savior and somehow the conclusion he came to is that he must slaughter innocent people to convey some ill-conceived grievance concerning a political ideology. Perhaps this indignation is what a typical Muslim feels each time a suicide bomber evokes Allah just before killing scores of civilians. I don’t believe that Allah condones such actions any more than he calls Westboro Baptist Church to protest a deceased soldier’s funeral.   

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